Commando Papà to hit the Italian shops in 2013
Italian publishing giant Mondadori is going to publish an Italian language version of Commando Dad next year. Commando Papà.
Wow. I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the dads (and mums!) in the UK, Australia and New Zealand who have bought the book and made it such a success. I put a lot of time and effort into making Commando Dad the basic training manual that every new dad needs. But if you hadn’t bought it, I wouldn’t be on this adventure. Right, that’s quite enough emotion there!
And to the Italian dads, I’d like to say, remember the first rule of being a Commando Dad: un commando Papà è un mani sui Papà. I really hope that means ‘A Commando Dad is a hands on Dad’.
Over and out.
The category was ‘Best Gift for New Mum/Dad’.
Tina Summers from LovedByParents said:
“We are delighted that Neil has won a prestigious Silver Lovedbyparents Award and it is a testament to how hard he has worked on his wonderful book, Commando Dad. It will make a great gift for any new mum or dad.”
Cheers Tina! And of course HUGE THANKS to everyone who voted for Commando Dad!
Commando Dad has been shortlisted for a Loved By Parents award, in the category of ‘Best Gift for New Mum & Dad‘. It’s all down to the public vote now!
- You read the book and think it’s worthy of a vote;
- You are the kind of person that wouldn’t mind voting for a book to win an award;
- You are not currently engaged on active duty with your troopers
…then please consider casting your vote for Commando Dad.
- go to the Loved By Parents awards page
- select ‘Creative’ category on the page that pops up
- Commando Dad is the very last one in the list
- you will also need to vote for at least four other products (sorry) that you rate
- enter your email address
- click ‘Submit Votes’
I’m going to be at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas this weekend, signing copies of Commando Dad. It would be great to see you there (especially as I have all my family there too – not just my troopers but my mum and dad)! As an ex-serviceman it’s an honour and a privilege to be given the opportunity to be signing the book at a place which means so much to so many people.
In case you don’t know it, the National Memorial Arboretum is our national centre of remembrance. It is an amazing place that honours all those that have fallen since the second world war and also those that may not have been commemorated elsewhere. In case I have made it sound like a sad place, please let me assure you that the atmosphere there is one of pride and gratitude.
I’ll be there from 11.30, and you can find the address on the NMA website.
Apparently, it is virtually impossible to get a publisher. I’m glad I didn’t know before I tried, or I might have been put off. As it is, I got two offers on my book. This is how.
- I wrote the book. Well, the first version of it any way. After four years of thinking about it, talking about it and getting my friends to agree it was a good idea, I was no nearer to actually writing it. People were now starting to ask me whatever happened about the book. I found it hard to say nothing, because I never did anything with it – far harder than I would have found it to say that I had given it my best shot, but no publisher was interested. So for 10 Saturday mornings in a row, I sat down with my wife and wrote a chapter. We promised to send what we’d written to our cousin Annie every week, a promise that kept us honest. I found that having a pile of papers that I could point to and say ‘this is my book’ had a miraculous effect on galvanising me into action. I had a book. It was real.
- I wrote a book synopsis. In fact, the synopsis was so good that it actually made me change the book. Trying to make it as appealing as possible to publishers, (by answering questions such as who would buy it, how it was different from what was already out there etc.) made me look at my book more critically. I included three chapters of the book in the synopsis.
- I didn’t bother with an agent. Oh, I know you are supposed to, because that’s the way of doing things. But when the penny dropped that I was supposed to go through the Writer’s & Artist’s Yearbook and send out a lot of manuscripts to a lot of agents, the majority of whom, by the simple law of averages would reject it I decided not to. I didn’t want to feel that I was a failure before I had even begun. And stamps are expensive.
- I did my research on publishers. The problem with agents was that we didn’t know the difference between the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. So I thought that by far the best bet was to target suitable publishers and ring them up to find out the agents they care about. Then I’d just target those. I had already researched publishers – on and offline – that had released books specifically for dads, written by dads. I had a list of 8. I called up 4, and two of those asked to see the manuscript. The two that reviewed the manuscript made offers. In less than a week.
- I spoke to the publishers about what they thought my book would look like. The first time you speak to a publisher it is an exciting and amazing experience but I had watched too many documentaries about famous bands signing to labels to get carried away in the moment. Act in haste, repent at leisure. As my criteria for Commando Dad: Basic Training had always been ‘would I pick up this book?’ and ‘would this book have been useful to me as a stay-at-home dad?’ I prepared a set of questions to find out if their vision for the book was the same as mine. So for example, I asked them what they thought it would look like, how big it would be, how many pages it would have, how much they’d like to sell it for etc. I also asked them to send over a draft contract, which is very, very telling.
In the end I chose the publisher that seemed to have a similar vision for the book to the one I had and was amenable to listening to the opinion of a complete novice like me. The book’s not out until May next year – just in time to make a great present for Father’s Day – so I have yet to see how it will sell, but I can honestly say that together we produced the exact book that I have been seeing in my mind’s eye for years.
This of course is the short version – each of these bullet points could make a long and probably boring blog all of their own, and we haven’t even got into the ‘what to do with a contract’ territory, but the main points are here. I am happy to elaborate if anyone wants me to.